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25951  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Many entries on: September 10, 2009, 11:32:59 AM
"Honor, justice, and humanity, forbid us tamely to surrender that freedom which we received from our gallant ancestors, and which our innocent posterity have a right to receive from us. We cannot endure the infamy and guilt of resigning succeeding generations to that wretchedness which inevitably awaits them if we basely entail hereditary bondage on them." --Thomas Jefferson

"Wisdom and knowledge, as well as virtue, diffused generally among the body of the people, being necessary for the preservation of their rights and liberties, and as these depend on spreading the opportunities and advantages of education in the various parts of the country, and among the different orders of people, it shall be the duty of legislators and magistrates...to cherish the interest of literature and the sciences, and all seminaries of them." --John Adams

"Can you then consent to be the only sufferers by this revolution, and retiring from the field, grow old in poverty, wretchedness and contempt? Can you consent to wade through the vile mire of dependency, and owe the miserable remnant of that life to charity, which has hitherto been spent in honor? If you can -- GO -- and carry with you the jest of Tories and scorn of Whigs -- the ridicule, and what is worse, the pity of the world. Go, starve, and be forgotten!" --George Washington

"The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse." --James Madison

"It is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth -- and listen to the song of that syren, till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? ... For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it might cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it." --Patrick Henry

"[W]ith respect to future debt; would it not be wise and just for that nation to declare in the constitution they are forming that neither the legislature, nor the nation itself can validly contract more debt, than they may pay within their own age..." --Thomas Jefferson

"To say that the United States should be answerable for twenty-five millions of dollars without knowing whether the ways and means can be provided, and without knowing whether those who are to succeed us will think with us on the subject, would be rash and unjustifiable. Sir, in my opinion, it would be hazarding the public faith in a manner contrary to every idea of prudence." --James Madison

"The people can never wilfully betray their own interests; but they may possibly be betrayed by the representatives of the people; and the danger will be evidently greater where the whole legislative trust is lodged in the hands of one body of men, than where the concurrence of separate and dissimilar bodies is required in every public act." --Federalist No. 63

"Public affairs go on pretty much as usual: perpetual chicanery and rather more personal abuse than there used to be..." --John Adams

"Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people, who have a right, from the frame of their nature, to knowledge, as their great Creator, who does nothing in vain, has given them understandings, and a desire to know; but besides this, they have a right, an indisputable, unalienable, indefeasible, divine right to that most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge; I mean, of the characters and conduct of their rulers." --John Adams, Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law, 1756

"To cherish and stimulate the activity of the human mind, by multiplying the objects of enterprise, is not among the least considerable of the expedients, by which the wealth of a nation may be promoted." --Alexander Hamilton, Report on Manufactures, 1791

"Cherish, therefore, the spirit of our people, and keep alive their attention. Do not be too severe upon their errors, but reclaim them by enlightening them. If once they become inattentive to the public affairs, you and I, and Congress, and Assemblies, Judges, and Governors, shall all become wolves." --Thomas Jefferson, letter to Edward Carrington, 1787

On Tuesday, community organizer Barack Obama broadcast a televised message to millions of children in the nation's government school bureaucracies. His administration prepared a "Menu of Classroom Activities" for his sycophantic apparatchiks in teaching and administrative positions.

For example, it was suggested that teachers of children in K-6 grades "build background knowledge about the President of the United States by reading books about Barack Obama" or have students "write letters to themselves about what they can do to help the president."

For 7-12th grades, the administration suggests that teachers "post in large print around the classroom notable quotes excerpted from President Obama's speeches on education."

Here are a few suggestions, which were not on the administrations menu of activities.

Activity 1: For K-6th grades, build background knowledge about our God and our country by reading books about our Founders. Have students write letters to Obama so he can learn a little something about how liberty is "endowed by our Creator," and what happens when tyrants anoint themselves as the arbiters of liberty. Start with a quote from Thomas Jefferson: "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. ... Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God."

Activity 2: For 7-12th grades, post in large print around the classroom notable quotes excerpted from our Founders on the subject of education.

For example:

"[W]e ought to deprecate the hazard attending ardent and susceptible minds, from being too strongly, and too early prepossessed in favor of other political systems, before they are capable of appreciating their own." --George Washington

"Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people, who have a right, from the frame of their nature, to knowledge, as their great Creator, who does nothing in vain, has given them understandings, and a desire to know; but besides this, they have a right, an indisputable, unalienable, indefeasible, divine right to that most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge; I mean, of the characters and conduct of their rulers." --John Adams

"Law and liberty cannot rationally become the objects of our love, unless they first become the objects of our knowledge." --James Wilson

"A nation under a well regulated government should permit none to remain uninstructed. It is monarchical and aristocratical government only that requires ignorance for its support." --Thomas Paine

"No people will tamely surrender their Liberties, nor can any be easily subdued, when knowledge is diffused and Virtue is preserved. On the Contrary, when People are universally ignorant, and debauched in their Manners, they will sink under their own weight without the Aid of foreign Invaders." --Samuel Adams

"If a nation expects to be ignorant -- and free -- in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." --Thomas Jefferson

"A popular Government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or, perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives." --James Madison

Activity 3: Have a class discussion about why Obama attended a very expensive private school in Hawaii, and why he now spends $60,000 annually for his two children to attend private school, but does not support school choice initiatives for students stuck in government institutions?

Obama closed the indoctrination exercise with these words: "At the end of the day, we can have the most dedicated teachers, the most supportive parents and the best schools in the world, and none of it will matter unless all of you fulfill your responsibilities."

However, with few exceptions, we do not have "the most dedicated teachers, the most supportive parents and the best schools in the world," and we don't have them primarily as a consequence of Leftist social policies, which Obama wants to perpetuate. Obama certainly does not have the moral authority to instruct children to "fulfill your responsibilities," until he starts with a few of his own, like his oath to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
25952  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / UN wants global currency to replace dollar on: September 10, 2009, 11:08:18 AM


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/currency/6152204/UN-wants-new-global-currency-to-replace-dollar.html
25953  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / UK committee recommends rationing air travel on: September 10, 2009, 11:06:24 AM
U.K. committee recommends rationed air travel
Government advisers in the U.K. are warning that air travel in the future may have to be rationed to meet target emissions levels. "We have to think seriously about constraining demand and the way we do that is to have high fares to reflect carbon prices," said David Kennedy, chief of the Committee on Climate Change, in a letter to government ministers. "You may want to go on holiday more that you do now. But you may not be able to do that in a carbon-constrained world," Kennedy said. Telegraph (London)
25954  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Setting up the next leg down on: September 10, 2009, 10:56:33 AM


http://www.philstockworld.com/2009/09/09/setting-up-the-next-leg-down-in-housing/
25955  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Levitating mice?!? on: September 10, 2009, 10:47:18 AM


http://news.yahoo.com/s/livescience/20090909/sc_livescience/micelevitatedinlab
25956  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Palin phenomenon on: September 10, 2009, 10:24:34 AM
By SARAH PALIN
Writing in the New York Times last month, President Barack Obama asked that Americans "talk with one another, and not over one another" as our health-care debate moves forward.

I couldn't agree more. Let's engage the other side's arguments, and let's allow Americans to decide for themselves whether the Democrats' health-care proposals should become governing law.

Some 45 years ago Ronald Reagan said that "no one in this country should be denied medical care because of a lack of funds." Each of us knows that we have an obligation to care for the old, the young and the sick. We stand strongest when we stand with the weakest among us.

We also know that our current health-care system too often burdens individuals and businesses—particularly small businesses—with crippling expenses. And we know that allowing government health-care spending to continue at current rates will only add to our ever-expanding deficit.

How can we ensure that those who need medical care receive it while also reducing health-care costs? The answers offered by Democrats in Washington all rest on one principle: that increased government involvement can solve the problem. I fundamentally disagree.

View Full Image

Associated Press
 .Common sense tells us that the government's attempts to solve large problems more often create new ones. Common sense also tells us that a top-down, one-size-fits-all plan will not improve the workings of a nationwide health-care system that accounts for one-sixth of our economy. And common sense tells us to be skeptical when President Obama promises that the Democrats' proposals "will provide more stability and security to every American."

With all due respect, Americans are used to this kind of sweeping promise from Washington. And we know from long experience that it's a promise Washington can't keep.

Let's talk about specifics. In his Times op-ed, the president argues that the Democrats' proposals "will finally bring skyrocketing health-care costs under control" by "cutting . . . waste and inefficiency in federal health programs like Medicare and Medicaid and in unwarranted subsidies to insurance companies . . . ."

First, ask yourself whether the government that brought us such "waste and inefficiency" and "unwarranted subsidies" in the first place can be believed when it says that this time it will get things right. The nonpartistan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) doesn't think so: Its director, Douglas Elmendorf, told the Senate Budget Committee in July that "in the legislation that has been reported we do not see the sort of fundamental changes that would be necessary to reduce the trajectory of federal health spending by a significant amount."

Now look at one way Mr. Obama wants to eliminate inefficiency and waste: He's asked Congress to create an Independent Medicare Advisory Council—an unelected, largely unaccountable group of experts charged with containing Medicare costs. In an interview with the New York Times in April, the president suggested that such a group, working outside of "normal political channels," should guide decisions regarding that "huge driver of cost . . . the chronically ill and those toward the end of their lives . . . ."

Given such statements, is it any wonder that many of the sick and elderly are concerned that the Democrats' proposals will ultimately lead to rationing of their health care by—dare I say it—death panels? Establishment voices dismissed that phrase, but it rang true for many Americans. Working through "normal political channels," they made themselves heard, and as a result Congress will likely reject a wrong-headed proposal to authorize end-of-life counseling in this cost-cutting context. But the fact remains that the Democrats' proposals would still empower unelected bureaucrats to make decisions affecting life or death health-care matters. Such government overreaching is what we've come to expect from this administration.

Speaking of government overreaching, how will the Democrats' proposals affect the deficit? The CBO estimates that the current House proposal not only won't reduce the deficit but will actually increase it by $239 billion over 10 years. Only in Washington could a plan that adds hundreds of billions to the deficit be hailed as a cost-cutting measure.

The economic effects won't be limited to abstract deficit numbers; they'll reach the wallets of everyday Americans. Should the Democrats' proposals expand health-care coverage while failing to curb health-care inflation rates, smaller paychecks will result. A new study for Watson Wyatt Worldwide by Steven Nyce and Syl Schieber concludes that if the government expands health-care coverage while health-care inflation continues to rise "the higher costs would drive disposable wages downward across most of the earnings spectrum, although the declines would be steepest for lower-earning workers." Lower wages are the last thing Americans need in these difficult economic times.

Finally, President Obama argues in his op-ed that Democrats' proposals "will provide every American with some basic consumer protections that will finally hold insurance companies accountable." Of course consumer protection sounds like a good idea. And it's true that insurance companies can be unaccountable and unresponsive institutions—much like the federal government. That similarity makes this shift in focus seem like nothing more than an attempt to deflect attention away from the details of the Democrats' proposals—proposals that will increase our deficit, decrease our paychecks, and increase the power of unaccountable government technocrats.

Instead of poll-driven "solutions," let's talk about real health-care reform: market-oriented, patient-centered, and result-driven. As the Cato Institute's Michael Cannon and others have argued, such policies include giving all individuals the same tax benefits received by those who get coverage through their employers; providing Medicare recipients with vouchers that allow them to purchase their own coverage; reforming tort laws to potentially save billions each year in wasteful spending; and changing costly state regulations to allow people to buy insurance across state lines. Rather than another top-down government plan, let's give Americans control over their own health care.

Democrats have never seriously considered such ideas, instead rushing through their own controversial proposals. After all, they don't need Republicans to sign on: Democrats control the House, the Senate and the presidency. But if passed, the Democrats' proposals will significantly alter a large sector of our economy. They will not improve our health care. They will not save us money. And, despite what the president says, they will not "provide more stability and security to every American."

We often hear such overblown promises from Washington. With first principles in mind and with the facts in hand, tell them that this time we're not buying it.

Ms. Palin, Sen. John McCain's running mate in the 2008 presidential election, was governor of Alaska from December 2006 to July 2009.
25957  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: Venezuela Pol?tica on: September 09, 2009, 10:31:25 PM
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203440104574400792835972018.html?mod=rss_opinion_main#printMode

SEPTEMBER 8, 2009, 7:27 P.M. ET.

The Emerging Axis of Iran and Venezuela
The prospect of Iranian missiles in South America should not be dismissed.

By ROBERT M. MORGENTHAU
The diplomatic ties between Iran and Venezuela go back almost 50 years and until recently amounted to little more than the routine exchange of diplomats. With the election of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2005, the relationship dramatically changed.

Today Mr. Ahmadinejad and Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez have created a cozy financial, political and military partnership rooted in a shared anti-American animus. Now is the time to develop policies in this country to ensure this partnership produces no poisonous fruit.

Signs of the evolving partnership began to emerge in 2006, when Venezuela joined Cuba and Syria as the only nations to vote against a U.N. Atomic Energy Agency resolution to report Iran to the Security Council over its failures to abide U.N. sanctions to curtail its nuclear program. A year later, during a visit by Mr. Chávez to Tehran, the two nations declared an "axis of unity" against the U.S. and Ecuador. And in June of this year, while protesters lined the streets of Tehran following the substantial allegations of fraud in the re-election of Mr. Ahmadinejad, Mr. Chávez publicly offered him support. As the regime cracked down on political dissent, jailing, torturing and killing protesters, Venezuela stood with the Iranian hard-liners.

View Full Image
Associated Press Hugo Chávez and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad meet in Tehran, Sept. 5.
.
Meanwhile, Iranian investments in Venezuela have been rising. The two countries have signed various Memoranda of Understanding on technology development, cooperation on banking and finance, and oil and gas exploration and refining. In April 2008, the two countries also signed a Memorandum of Understanding pledging full military support and cooperation. United Press International reported in August that Iranian military advisers have been embedded with Venezuelan troops.

According to a report published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in December of last year, Venezuela has an estimated 50,000 tons of unmined uranium. There is speculation in the Carnegie report that Venezuela could be mining uranium for Iran.

The Iranians have also opened International Development Bank in Caracas under the Spanish name Banco Internacional de Desarrollo C.A., an independent subsidiary of Export Development Bank of Iran. Last October the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control imposed economic sanctions against both of these Iranian banks for providing or attempting to provide financial services to Iran's Ministry of Defense and its Armed Forces Logistics—the two Iranian military entities tasked with advancing Iran's nuclear ambitions.

My office has been told that that over the past three years a number of Iranian-owned and controlled factories have sprung up in remote and undeveloped parts of Venezuela—ideal locations for the illicit production of weapons. Evidence of the type of activity conducted inside the factories is limited. But we should be concerned, especially in light of an incident in December 2008. Turkish authorities detained an Iranian vessel bound for Venezuela after discovering lab equipment capable of producing explosives packed inside 22 containers marked "tractor parts." The containers also allegedly contained barrels labeled with "danger" signs. I think it is safe to assume that this was a lucky catch—and that most often shipments of this kind reach their destination in Venezuela.

A recent U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) study reported a high level of corruption within the Venezuelan government, military and law enforcement that has allowed that country to become a major transshipment route for trafficking cocaine out of Colombia. Intelligence gathered by my office strongly supports the conclusion that Hezbollah supporters in South America are engaged in the trafficking of narcotics. The GAO study also confirms allegations of Venezuelan support for FARC, the Colombian terrorist insurgency group that finances its operations through narcotics trafficking, extortion and kidnapping.

In a raid on a FARC training camp this July, Colombian military operatives recovered Swedish-made anti-tank rocket launchers sold to Venezuela in the 1980s. Sweden believes this demonstrates a violation of the end-user agreement by Venezuela, as the Swedish manufacturer was never authorized to sell arms to Colombia. Venezuelan Interior Minister Tareck El Aissami, a Venezuelan of Syrian origin, lamely called the allegations a "media show," and "part of a campaign against our people, our government and our institutions."

In the past several years Iranian entities have employed a pervasive system of deceitful and fraudulent practices to move money all over the world without detection. The regime has done this, I believe, to pay for materials necessary to develop nuclear weapons, long-range missiles, and road-side bombs. Venezuela has an established financial system that Iran, with the help of Mr. Chávez's government, can exploit to avoid economic sanctions.

Consider, for example, the United Kingdom bank Lloyds TSB. From 2001 to 2004, on behalf of Iranian banks and their customers, the bank admitted in a statement of facts to my office that it intentionally altered wire transfer information to hide the identity of its clients. This allowed the illegal transfer of more than $300 million of Iranian cash despite economic sanctions prohibiting Iranian access to the U.S. financial system. In January, Lloyds entered into deferred prosecution agreements with my office and the Justice Department to resolve the investigation.

In April, we also announced the indictment of a company called Limmt, and its manager, Li Fang Wei. The U.S. government had banned Limmt from engaging in transactions with or through the U.S. financial system because of its role in the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction to Iran. But our investigation revealed that Li Fang Wei and Limmt used aliases and shell companies to deceive banks into processing payments related to the shipment of banned missile, nuclear and so-called dual use materials to subsidiary organizations of the Iranian Defense Industries Organization. (Limmt, through the international press, has denied the allegations in the indictment.) The tactics used in these cases should send a strong signal to law enforcement, intelligence agencies, and military commands throughout the world about the style and level of deception the Iranians' employ. Based on information developed by my office, we believe that the Iranians, with the help of Venezuela, are now engaged in similar sanctions-busting schemes.

Why is Hugo Chávez willing to open up his country to a foreign nation with little shared history or culture? I believe it is because his regime is bent on becoming a regional power, and is fanatical in its approach to dealing with the U.S. The diplomatic overture of President Barack Obama in shaking Mr. Chávez's hand in April at the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago is no reason to assume the threat has diminished. In fact, with the groundwork laid years ago, we are entering a period where the fruits of the Iran-Venezuela bond will begin to ripen.

That means two of the world's most dangerous regimes, the self-described "axis of unity," will be acting together in our backyard on the development of nuclear and missile technology. And it seems that terrorist groups have found the perfect operating ground for training and planning, and financing their activities through narco-trafficking.

The Iranian nuclear and long-range missile threats, and creeping Iranian influence in the Western Hemisphere, cannot be overlooked. My office and other law-enforcement agencies can help ensure that money laundering, terror financing, and sanctions violations are not ignored, and that criminals and the banks that aid Iran will be discovered and prosecuted. But U.S. law enforcement alone is not enough to counter the threat.

The public needs to be aware of Iran's growing presence in Latin America. Moreover, the U.S. and the international community must strongly consider ways to monitor and sanction Venezuela's banking system. Failure to act will leave open a window susceptible to money laundering by the Iranian government, the narcotics organizations with ties to corrupt elements in the Venezuelan government, and the terrorist organizations that Iran supports openly.

Mr. Morgenthau is the Manhattan district attorney. This op-ed is adapted from a speech yesterday at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.
25958  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: September 20, 2009 Gathering on: September 09, 2009, 05:24:13 PM
Cyborg Dog's registration just came in electronically.
25959  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: September 20, 2009 Gathering on: September 09, 2009, 05:17:28 PM
The following fighter forms were picked up at the mail box today:

a) Ivaylo Penev
b) Devin Wilkey
c) Guide Dog-- at the moment it appears he will be unable to fight, but we leave his name on the list anyway
d) Iron Dog- welcome back!
25960  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Free Speech vs. Islamic Fascism (formerly Buy DANISH!!!) on: September 09, 2009, 04:19:39 PM
Yale Removes Cartoons of Prophet Muhammad From Forthcoming Book, Citing Fears of Violence

Tuesday , September 08, 2009

Yale University wiped a forthcoming book clean of controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, fearing the images would cause another outbreak of violence.  Yale University Press, which the Ivy League school owns, removed the 12 caricatures from the book "The Cartoons That Shook the World" by Brandeis University professor Jytte Klausen — which is scheduled to be released next week.

A Danish newspaper originally published the cartoons, including one depicting Muhammad wearing a bomb-shaped turban, in 2005. Other Western publications reprinted them. The following year, the cartoons triggered massive protests from Morocco to Indonesia. Rioters torched Danish and other Western diplomatic missions. Some Muslim countries boycotted Danish products.

Islamic law generally opposes any depiction of the prophet, even favorable, for fear it could lead to idolatry.

"There is a repeated pattern of violence when these cartoons have been republished,” University Vice President and Secretary Linda Lorimer told the Yale Daily News in August. "The homework for us here this summer was to ask people in positions who could give expert counsel whether there is still an appreciable chance of violence from publishing the cartoons.”

The university said it consulted counterterrorism officials, Muslim diplomats, the top Muslim official at the United Nations and other mostly unidentified experts in making its decision.

Those experts said they had "serious concerns about violence occurring following publication of either the cartoons or other images of the Prophet Muhammad in a book about the cartoons,” University President Richard Levin told key administrators in an Aug. 13 letter, according to the Yale paper.

Those consulted said republishing the images "ran a serious risk of instigating violence," a press spokesman told FOXNews.com in August.

Click here for FOXNews.com's previous coverage of the controversy.

The action taken by the New Haven, Conn., university regarding the book, which looks at how the illustrations caused outrage in the Muslim world, has drawn criticism from prominent Yale alumni and a national group of university professors.

"I think it's horrifying that the campus of Nathan Hale has become the first place where America surrenders to this kind of fear because of what extremists might possibly do," said Michael Steinberg, an attorney and Yale graduate.

Steinberg was among 25 alumni who signed a protest letter sent Friday to Yale Alumni Magazine that urged the university to restore the drawings to the book.

Other signers included John Bolton, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under President George W. Bush, former Bush administration speechwriter David Frum and Seth Corey, a liberal doctor.

"I think it's intellectual cowardice," Bolton said Thursday. "I think it's very self defeating on Yale's part. To me it's just inexplicable."

Cary Nelson, president of the American Association of University Professors, wrote in a recent letter that Yale's decision effectively means: "We do not negotiate with terrorists. We just accede to their anticipated demands."

In a statement explaining the decision, Yale University Press said it decided to exclude a Danish newspaper page of the cartoons and other depictions of Muhammad after asking the university for help on the issue.

"The decision rested solely on the experts' assessment that there existed a substantial likelihood of violence that might take the lives of innocent victims," the statement said.

Republication of the cartoons has repeatedly resulted in violence around the world, leading to more than 200 deaths and hundreds of injuries, the statement said. It also noted that major newspapers in the United states and Britain have declined to print the cartoons.

"Yale and Yale University Press are deeply committed to freedom of speech and expression, so the issues raised here were difficult," the statement said. "The press would never have reached the decision it did on the grounds that some might be offended by portrayals of the Prophet Muhammad."

John Donatich, director of Yale University Press, said the critics are "grandstanding." He said it was not a case of censorship because the university did not suppress original content that was not available in other places.

"I would never have agreed to censor original content," Donatich said.

Klausen was surprised by the decision when she learned of it in July. She said scholarly reviewers and Yale's publication committee comprised of faculty recommended the cartoons be included.

"I'm extremely upset about that," Klausen said.

The experts Yale consulted did not read the manuscript, Klausen said, telling the school newspaper that their opinions were "terribly alarmist." She said she consulted Muslim leaders and did not believe including the cartoons in a scholarly debate would spark violence.

“I have a reputation as a fair and sympathetic observer,” Klausen told the Yale paper. “There’s absolutely nothing anti-Muslim about my book.”

Klausen said she reluctantly agreed to have the book published without the images because she did not believe any other university press would publish them, and she hopes Yale will include them in later editions.

She argues in the book that there is a misperception that Muslims spontaneously arose in anger over the cartoons when they really were symbols manipulated by those already involved in violence.

Donatich said there wasn't time for the experts to read the book, but they were told of the context. He said reviewers and the publications committee did not object, but were not asked about the security risk.

Many Muslim nations want to restrict speech to prevent insults to Islam they claim have proliferated since the terrorist attacks in the United States on Sept. 11, 2001.

Fareed Zakaria, editor of Newsweek International, a world affairs columnist and CNN host who serves on Yale's governing board, said he told Yale that he believed publishing the images would have provoked violence.

"As a journalist and public commentator, I believe deeply in the First Amendment and academic freedom," Zakaria said. "But in this instance Yale Press was confronted with a clear threat of violence and loss of life."

Click here for more on this story from the Yale Daily News.


http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,547572,00.html
25961  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: September 20, 2009 Gathering on: September 09, 2009, 01:22:20 AM
What are fencing sabers like?  Is there an issue with penetration of the skin?

25962  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: September 20, 2009 Gathering on: September 08, 2009, 05:08:46 PM
Sneakers will be fine.
25963  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: September 20, 2009 Gathering on: September 08, 2009, 10:07:39 AM
Well then, if he had mentioned it in his application then Cindy would have known to post it tongue  cheesy

Shoot her an email and let her know.

25964  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / S. Adams on: September 08, 2009, 07:59:17 AM
"No people will tamely surrender their Liberties, nor can any be easily subdued, when knowledge is diffusd and Virtue is preservd. On the Contrary, when People are universally ignorant, and debauchd in their Manners, they will sink under their own weight without the Aid of foreign Invaders." --Samuel Adams, letter to James Warren, 1775
25965  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: September 20, 2009 Gathering on: September 08, 2009, 12:38:17 AM
What a coincidence!  The registered fighters list has just been updated!

I'm not seeing Iron Dog, Cyborg Dog, Boo Dog, Tennessee Dog up there.   Remember, EVERYONE, TRIBE OR NOT, NEEDS TO REGISTER.  Fax is an option here people.

Iron Dog-- Cindy says that she hasn't been to the mail box in a few days, so if your registration would have come in during the last few days, it might be at the mail box.

25966  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: September 20, 2009 Gathering on: September 08, 2009, 12:13:15 AM
Various witticisms cross my mind in this moment, but thanks to hard earned wisdom, I will decline to express them cheesy cheesy cheesy
25967  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Jack Webb on: September 07, 2009, 11:48:28 PM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m4r6YCUtxfs&feature=popular
25968  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: new member of the pack in MN on: September 07, 2009, 07:47:48 PM
5 Rings:

Would you please see if you can find one of the existing threads for this sort of question?

Thank you.
25969  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: September 20, 2009 Gathering on: September 07, 2009, 07:46:46 PM
Posted on behalf of Josh, who will be answering on his own behalf for here forward (this means you have to register for the forum Josh  cheesy )

"Hello, im a fencer, and i want to test my swordsmanship in a gathering but i am unsure how a fencer would be able to compete and adapt in a gathering since my weapon of choice is basically something that would poke at my opponent causing little to no damage. is there a weapon you would suggest i use that could keep me still using my fencing technique? or is there someway to adapt a fencing saber to be more useful at a gathering?"

Great question-- lets see if we can find a solution!
25970  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Chance to repeal McCain-Feingold on: September 07, 2009, 07:43:26 PM
By THEODORE B. OLSON
Public discussion about the character and fitness for office of presidential candidates is at the core of the First Amendment's command that "Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the Freedom of Speech." Yet Congress, in its zeal to impose onerous campaign-finance restrictions, has made political speech a felony for one class of speakers. Corporations and unions can face up to five years in prison for broadcasting candidate-related advocacy during federal elections.

Is outlawing political speech based on the identity of the speaker compatible with the First Amendment? Tomorrow, the Supreme Court will hear arguments to determine the answer to this question.

The case—Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission—involves a 90-minute documentary produced by Citizens United, a small nonprofit advocacy corporation. "Hillary: The Movie" examines the record, policies and character of the former New York senator, now Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton. The documentary was set to be broadcast during Mrs. Clinton's presidential primary campaign. But the broadcast was banned when the Federal Election Commission declared that the broadcast would violate the 2002 McCain-Feingold campaign finance law.

The government defends this restriction by saying that corporations and unions are uniquely capable of amassing great wealth and must therefore be prevented from overwhelming the voices of others during an election. Relying on a 1990 Supreme Court decision (Austin v. Michigan State Chamber of Commerce), the government characterizes this threat as a "type of corruption" on the peculiar theory that such expenditures do not "reflect actual public support for the political ideas espoused by corporations." Therefore, the government reasons, corporate expenditures "distort" the political process and must be banned.

In crafting McCain-Feingold, Congress acted without proof that such expenditures have any distorting effect on elections. And it responded to a nonproblem with a sledgehammer rather than a scalpel. The current ban on candidate-related speech is not limited to big corporations or powerful unions. It prohibits election advocacy by all unions and all corporations, regardless of size. It even criminalizes speech by nonprofit advocacy corporations such as Citizens United and the ACLU, which cannot conceivably distort or corrupt the political process.

The government claims the authority to suppress corporate and union speech not only in broadcast formats but also in books, pamphlets and yard signs. Put simply, the government's theory is that because wealthy corporations and unions might speak too much during elections, all of them must be silenced.

While the law prohibits even the smallest nonprofit groups from engaging in election advocacy, it exempts wealthy individuals, and it does not restrict the many advantages of incumbency for sitting members of Congress. A limitless loophole is also granted to the media. Thus the corporations that own NBC and ABC (GE and Disney, respectively), and corporations like The New York Times (or News Corp., owner of this newspaper), can express whatever views they want during campaigns.

Loopholes aside, the government's argument that speech may be outlawed because it does not reflect "public support for the ideas expressed" is absurd. It is the very antithesis of free speech.

Hard-charging campaign rhetoric is something that the First Amendment's authors had experienced firsthand. In making the choice between government-approved, polite discourse and boisterous debate, the Founders chose freedom. They did not say Congress could enact finely reticulated restrictions on speech. They said plainly that there could be "no law" abridging the freedom of speech.

The idea that corporate and union speech is somehow inherently corrupting is nonsense. Most corporations are small businesses, and they have every right to speak out when a candidate threatens the welfare of their employees or shareholders.

Time after time the Supreme Court has recognized that corporations enjoy full First Amendment protections. One of the most revered First Amendment precedents is New York Times v. Sullivan (1964), which afforded publishers important constitutional safeguards in libel cases. Any decision that determines that corporations have less protection than individuals under the First Amendment would threaten the very institutions we depend upon to keep us informed. This may be why Citizens United is supported by such diverse allies as the ACLU, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the AFL-CIO, the National Rifle Association and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.

Persons of modest means often band together to speak through ideological corporations. That speech may not be silenced because of speculation that a few large entities might speak too loudly, or because some corporations may earn large profits. The First Amendment does not permit the government to handicap speakers based on their wealth, or ration speech in order somehow to equalize participation in public debate.

Tomorrow's case is not about Citizens United. It is about the rights of all persons—individuals, associations, corporations and unions—to speak freely. And it is about our right to hear those voices and to judge for ourselves who has the soundest message.

Mr. Olson, an attorney at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, will deliver the oral argument on behalf of Citizens United before the Supreme Court tomorrow.
25971  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: September 20, 2009 Gathering on: September 07, 2009, 07:02:13 PM
Cindy promises me she will have the updated registered fighters list up , , , soon  embarassed
25972  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Hall of Shame on: September 07, 2009, 06:55:52 PM
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/6140801/Jack-Straw-admits-Lockerbie-bombers-release-was-linked-to-oil.htm
Jack Straw admits Lockerbie bomber's release was linked to oil
Jack Straw has reignited the row over the release of the Lockerbie bomber by admitting for the first time that trade and oil were an essential part of the Government’s decision to include him in a prisoner transfer deal with Libya.
25973  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender issues thread on: September 07, 2009, 02:30:11 PM
It was an effort at humor, apparently unsuccessful cheesy
25974  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ on: September 07, 2009, 02:25:55 PM
By FREDERICK W. KAGAN
Winning the war in Afghanistan—creating a stable and legitimate Afghan state that can control its territory—will be difficult. The insurgency has grown in the past few years while the government's legitimacy has declined. It remains unclear how the recent presidential elections will affect this situation.

Trying to win in Afghanistan is not a fool's errand, however. Where coalition forces have conducted properly resourced counterinsurgency operations in areas such as Khowst, Wardak, Lowgar, Konar and Nangarhar Provinces in the eastern part of the country, they have succeeded despite the legendary xenophobia of the Pashtuns.

Poorly designed operations in Helmand Province have not led to success. Badly under-resourced efforts in other southern and western provinces, most notably Kandahar, have also failed. Can well-designed and properly-resourced operations succeed? There are no guarantees in war, but there is good reason to think they can. Given the importance of this theater to the stability of a critical and restive region, that is reason enough to try.

View Full Image

Associated Press
 .Critics of the war have suggested we should draw down our troops and force Pakistan to play a larger role in eliminating radical extremists. American concerns about al Qaeda and Taliban operating from Pakistani bases have led to the conventional wisdom that Pakistan matters to the U.S. because of what it could do to help—or hurt—in Afghanistan. The conventional wisdom is wrong as usual.

Pakistan is important because it is a country of 180 million Muslims with nuclear weapons and multiple terrorist groups engaged in a mini-arms race and periodic military encounters with India—the world's most populous state and one of America's most important economic and strategic partners. Pakistan has made remarkable progress over the last year in its efforts against Islamist insurgent groups that threatened to destroy it. But the fight against those groups takes place on both sides of the border. The debate over whether to commit the resources necessary to succeed in Afghanistan must recognize the extreme danger that a withdrawal or failure in Afghanistan would pose to the stability of Pakistan.

Pakistan's ambivalence toward militant Islamist groups goes back decades. The growth of radical Islamism in Pakistan dates to the 1970s and '80s when the government encouraged radicalism both for domestic political reasons and to combat Soviet encroachment. The Pakistani government, with U.S. support, established bases in its territory for Afghan mujahedeen (religious warriors) fighting the Red Army.

When Afghanistan descended into chaos in the '90s following the Soviet withdrawal, Pakistan intervened by building the Taliban into an organization strong enough to establish its writ at least throughout the Pashtun lands. Links forged in the anti-Soviet war between Pashtun mujahedeen and Arabs from the Persian Gulf remained strong enough to bring Osama bin Laden to the territory controlled by mujahedeen hero and Taliban leader Jalalluddin Haqqani. The 9/11 attacks were planned and organized from those bases.

The 9/11 attacks caught Pakistan by surprise and forced a radical, incoherent and unanticipated change in Pakistan's policies. Under intense pressure by the U.S., including an ultimatum from Secretary of State Colin Powell, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf chose to ally with America against Pakistan's erstwhile Afghan and Arab partners. Mr. Musharraf long tried to channel his own and U.S operations narrowly against al Qaeda while diverting them from the remnants of the Taliban (whom elements of the Pakistani intelligence services continued to support).

But U.S. pressure to act in Pakistan's tribal areas and the inexorable logic of the conflict led Pakistan to take actions that brought it into open conflict with some insurgent groups. Those groups in turn came to see Pakistan itself as their main enemy. By 2004, Pakistan faced a serious and growing insurgency in its tribal areas. By 2008 that insurgency had spread beyond the tribal areas into more settled areas such as the Swat River Valley. By 2009 it had metastasized to the point where Punjabis and not just Pashtuns were fighting the Pakistani government.

Pakistan turned an important—and little noticed—corner in its fight against its own Islamist insurgents this summer. The Pakistani military drove the Pakistani Taliban out of Swat and the surrounding areas, including much of the northern part of the tribal areas. Most recently, Pakistani military operations (with covert American support) decapitated the most dangerous Pakistani Taliban group based in Waziristan by killing its leader, Beitullah Mehsud. He was thought to be responsible for the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.

In contrast with previous such efforts, the current Pakistani government has retained significant military force in all of these areas and so far appears to be continuing the fight even after these successes. Remarkably, the combat divisions now holding Swat and other areas in the northwest of Pakistan are among those most critical to Pakistan's strategy to defend against the always-feared Indian attack.

But as American and NATO forces in Afghanistan discovered, the fight against the Taliban must be pursued on both sides of the border. Pakistan's successes have been assisted by the deployment of American conventional forces along the Afghanistan border opposite the areas in which Pakistani forces were operating, particularly in Konar and Khowst Provinces.

Those forces have not so much interdicted the border crossings (almost impossible in such terrain) as they have created conditions unfavorable to the free movement of insurgents. They have conducted effective counterinsurgency operations in areas that might otherwise provide sanctuary to insurgents fleeing Pakistani operations (Nangarhar and Paktia provinces especially, in addition to Konar and Khowst). Without those operations, Pakistan's insurgents would likely have found new safe havens in those provinces, rendering the painful progress made by Pakistan's military irrelevant.

Pakistan's stability cannot be secured solely within its borders any more than can Afghanistan's. Militant Islam can be defeated only by waging a proper counterinsurgency campaign on both sides of the border.

Mr. Kagan is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and co-author of "Ground Truth: The Future of U.S. Land Power" (AEI Press, 2008).
25975  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender issues thread on: September 06, 2009, 06:56:31 PM
Woof GM:

Rachel consistently brings excellent contributions to this forum, often from different perspectives than our usual ones.  The relentness nature of martian discourse is not where most venusians prefer to invest their energies.  She's a woman. That's the way it works  cheesy We're glad to have her here.

TAC!
Marc
25976  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: September 20, 2009 Gathering on: September 06, 2009, 06:33:28 PM
WOOF!!!
25977  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: protective gear on: September 06, 2009, 01:29:06 PM
Can someone help Keith out by pointing him to any of the existing threads on this?
25978  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Michael Yon in Afghanistan on: September 06, 2009, 09:26:03 AM
I've missed posting here several reports from MY.  Here is today's report:

Helmand, Afghanistan - The West is losing this war. This has been obvious for more than three years. Less obvious is that in 2009, we are down to the wire. Gen. Stanley McChrystal and others will soon recommend to President Obama the latest treatment for a dying patient.

Meanwhile, allies and Americans are asking themselves why we are here. Some are saying that Al Qaeda is still here or is waiting in the wings to return to its home. Yet Afghanistan was never Al Qaeda's permanent home to begin with. Al Qaeda was just renting a little space here, just as it was renting space in places like Germany and Florida.

We must face reality: Our reasons for continuing are not the reasons we came for. We are fighting a different war now than the one that began in 2001. Today's war is about social re-engineering. Given the horrible history of Afghanistan, and the fact that we already are here, the cause is worthy and worthwhile.

The decisions facing us are perilous and immense. On the one hand, we desperately need more troops, while on the other increasing troop levels introduces a host of costs and potential traps.

Yet it seems certain the war will be lost if we do not significantly increase troops. While our enemies grow stronger, years will pass before Afghan forces can replace us. Enemies are gaining ground while we lose the goodwill of the people through disillusionment. In the mostly peaceful Ghor Province, for instance, development is scant and there are no Afghan soldiers.

I just spent more than a month with British combat forces in Helmand. Instead of concentrating on training and operating with Afghan forces, the British are involved in a daily struggle for tiny pieces of real estate.

Last December, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates told me in a private discussion while flying back to the U.S. from Afghanistan, Bahrain and Iraq, that his greatest concern is that we will lose the goodwill of the Afghan people. Gates is correct and my confidence in his judgment is high. Gates knows that our stock is still okay here, but clearly it is losing value.

The strongest indicator of progress will come in the form of cooperation from the people. In Iraq, especially in about mid-2007, I witnessed a tidal shift in cooperation from the civilians and largely from that was able to report that the surge was working, long before the statistics would support what might have appeared to be a wild claim.

During 2006 in Afghanistan, I witnessed areas where the population was alienated from Kabul and Western forces. Again, long before the statistics would support what appeared to be wild claims, I published 12 reports saying we were losing here. Analysts cannot feel the pulse through statistics; in this sort of war, statistics lag behind the realities. An observer must be on the ground to sense the pulse.

Pundits who are saying we should pull out of Afghanistan today, to my knowledge, are not here.

Having just spent another month with British forces in Helmand, today I am on my own in the same province. During the last month, our great allies the British lost dozens of soldiers who were killed or wounded. Cooperation from locals is almost nonexistent in many places. Interaction between civilians and British soldiers was nearly zero. The British treat the civilians very well, but being polite and respectful is not enough.

Without significant reinforcements, the British likely will be defeated in Helmand within a couple of years. My respect for British soldiers is immense. I have been in combat with them many times in Iraq and Afghanistan, including during the last couple of weeks and would go into battle with them today. Yet it must be said that the average British soldier has practically no understanding of counterinsurgency.

The enemies here cannot defeat the United States, but they can dissolve the coalition. Some allies are ready to tap out, while others are learning that counterinsurgency is difficult. The Germans, for instance, are losing in their battle space. To avoid watching the coalition melt away, we must show progress before the end of 2010.

Today, the war is still worth fighting, yet the goal to reengineer one of the most backward, violent places on Earth, will require a century before a reasonable person can call Afghanistan "a developing nation." The war will not take that long - but the effort will.

There are no short-term solutions to fix this place. We are planting acorns. Oak trees grow slowly.
25979  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / NYT: What Torture never told us: on: September 06, 2009, 09:21:02 AM
second post of the morning:

By ALI H. SOUFAN
Published: September 5, 2009
PUBLIC bravado aside, the defenders of the so-called enhanced interrogation techniques are fast running out of classified documents to hide behind. The three that were released recently by the C.I.A. — the 2004 report by the inspector general and two memos from 2004 and 2005 on intelligence gained from detainees — fail to show that the techniques stopped even a single imminent threat of terrorism.


Times Topics: C.I.A. InterrogationsThe inspector general’s report distinguishes between intelligence gained from regular interrogation and from the harsher methods, which culminate in waterboarding. While the former produces useful intelligence, according to the report, the latter “is a more subjective process and not without concern.” And the information in the two memos reinforces this differentiation.

They show that substantial intelligence was gained from pocket litter (materials found on detainees when they were captured), from playing detainees against one another and from detainees freely giving up information that they assumed their questioners already knew. A computer seized in March 2003 from a Qaeda operative for example, listed names of Qaeda members and money they were to receive.

Soon after Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the chief planner of the 9/11 attacks, was captured in 2003, according to the 2005 memo, he “elaborated on his plan to crash commercial airlines into Heathrow Airport.” The memo speculates that he may have assumed that Ramzi bin al-Shibh, a fellow member of Al Qaeda who had been captured in 2002, had already divulged the plan. The same motivation — the assumption that another detainee had already talked — is offered to explain why Mr. Mohammed provided details about the Hambali-Southeast Asia Qaeda network.

Mr. Mohammed must have likewise assumed that his interrogators already had the details about Al Qaeda’s organizational structure that he gave them. When I testified in the trial of Salim Hamdan, who had been Osama bin Laden’s personal driver, I provided many unclassified details about Al Qaeda’s structure and operations, none of which came from Mr. Mohammed.

Some of the information that is cited in the memos — the revelation that Mr. Mohammed had been the mastermind of 9/11, for example, and the uncovering of Jose Padilla, the so-called dirty bomber — was gained from another terrorism suspect, Abu Zubaydah, by “informed interrogation,” conducted by an F.B.I. colleague and me. The arrest of Walid bin Attash, one of Osama bin Laden’s most trusted messengers, which was also cited in the 2005 C.I.A. memo, was thanks to a quick-witted foreign law enforcement officer, and had nothing to do with harsh interrogation of anyone. The examples go on and on.

A third top suspected terrorist who was subjected to enhanced interrogation, in 2002, was Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, the man charged with plotting the 2000 bombing of the Navy destroyer Cole. I was the lead agent on a team that worked with the Yemenis to thwart a series of plots by Mr. Nashiri’s operatives in the Arabian Peninsula — including planned attacks on Western embassies. In 2004, we helped prosecute 15 of these operatives in a Yemeni court. Not a single piece of evidence that helped us apprehend or convict them came from Mr. Nashiri.

It is surprising, as the eighth anniversary of 9/11 approaches, that none of Al Qaeda’s top leadership is in our custody. One damaging consequence of the harsh interrogation program was that the expert interrogators whose skills were deemed unnecessary to the new methods were forced out.

Mr. Mohammed knew the location of most, if not all, of the members of Al Qaeda’s leadership council, and possibly of every covert cell around the world. One can only imagine who else we could have captured, or what attacks we might have disrupted, if Mr. Mohammed had been questioned by the experts who knew the most about him.

A lack of knowledge perhaps explains why so many false claims have been made about the program’s alleged successes. Many officials in Washington reading the reports didn’t know enough about Al Qaeda to know what information was already known and whether the detainees were telling all they knew. The inspector general’s report states that many operatives thought their superiors were inaccurately judging that detainees were withholding information. Such assessments, the operatives said, were “not always supported by an objective evaluation” but were “too heavily based, instead, on presumptions.” I can personally testify to this.

Supporters of the enhanced interrogation techniques have jumped from claim to claim about their usefulness. They have asserted, for example, that harsh treatment led Mr. Mohammed to reveal the plot to attack the Library Tower in Los Angeles. But that plot was thwarted in 2002, and Mr. Mohammed was not arrested until 2003. Recently, interviews with unnamed sources led The Washington Post to report that harsh techniques turned Mr. Mohammed into an intelligence “asset.”

This latest claim will come as news to Mr. Mohammed’s prosecutors, to his fellow detainees (whom he instructed, at his arraignment, not to cooperate with the United States) and indeed to Mr. Mohammed himself. He told the International Committee of the Red Cross that “I gave a lot of false information in order to satisfy what I believed the interrogators wished to hear.”

The inspector general’s report was written precisely because many of the C.I.A. operatives complained about what they were being ordered to do. The inspector general then conducted an internal audit of the entire program. In his report, he questions the effectiveness of the harsh techniques that were authorized. And he slams the use of “unauthorized, improvised, inhumane and undocumented detention and interrogation techniques.” This is probably why the enhanced interrogation program was shelved in 2005.

Meanwhile, the professionals in the field are relieved that an ineffective, unreliable, unnecessary and destructive program — one that may have given Al Qaeda a second wind and damaged our country’s reputation — is finished.

Ali H. Soufan was an F.B.I. special agent from 1997 to 2005.
25980  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Interrogation methods on: September 06, 2009, 09:12:56 AM
Ahmadinejad's Imam: Islam Allows Raping, Torturing Prisoners
 
http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/133214
by Nissan Ratzlav-Katz
Follow Israel news on  and .


(IsraelNN.com) A highly influential Shi'a religious leader, with whom Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad regularly consults, apparently told followers last month that coercion by means of rape, torture and drugs is acceptable against all opponents of the Islamic regime.
The gathered crowd heard from Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi Mesbah-Yazdi and Ahmadinejad.
 
Warning: The imam's question-and-answer session, partially reproduced here, contains disturbing descriptions of the sanctioned brutality.

In the wake of a series of publications worldwide regarding the rape and torture of dissident prisoners in Iran's jails, supporters of Ahmadinejad gathered with him in Jamkaran, a popular pilgrimage site for Shi'ite Muslims on the outskirts of Qom, on August 11, 2009. According to Iranian pro-democracy sources, the gathered crowd heard from Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi Mesbah-Yazdi and Ahmadinejad himself regarding the issue.

According to the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center (ITIC), an independent Israeli intelligence analysis organization, Mesbah-Yazdi is considered Ahmadinejad's personal spiritual guide. A radical totalitarian even in Iranian terms, he holds messianic views, supports increasing Islamization, calls for violent suppression of domestic political opponents, and, according to the ITIC, "declared that obeying a president supported by the Supreme Leader was tantamount to obeying God."

At the Jamkaran gathering, Mesbah-Yazdi and Ahmadinejad answered questions about the rape and torture charges. The following text is from a transcript alleged by Iranian dissidents to be a series of questions and answers exchanged between the ayatollah and some of his supporters.

Asked if a confession obtained "by applying psychological, emotional and physical pressure" was "valid and considered credible according to Islam," Mesbah-Yazdi replied: "Getting a confession from any person who is against the Velayat-e Faqih ("Guardianship of the Islamic Jurists", or the regime of Iran's mullahs) is permissible under any condition." The ayatollah gave the identical answer when asked about confessions obtained through drugging the prisoner with opiates or addictive substances.

"Can an interrogator rape the prisoner in order to obtain a confession?" was the follow-up question posed to the Islamic cleric.

Mesbah-Yazdi answered: "The necessary precaution is for the interrogator to perform a ritual washing first and say prayers while raping the prisoner. If the prisoner is female, it is permissible to rape through the vagina or anus. It is better not to have a witness present. If it is a male prisoner, then it's acceptable for someone else to watch while the rape is committed."

This reply, and reports of the rape of teen male prisoners in Iranian jails, may have prompted the following question: "Is the rape of men and young boys considered sodomy?"
One aspect of these permitted rapes troubled certain questioners.

Ayatollah Mesbah-Yazdi: "No, because it is not consensual. Of course, if the prisoner is aroused and enjoys the rape, then caution must be taken not to repeat the rape."

A related issue, in the eyes of the questioners, was the rape of virgin female prisoners. In this instance, Mesbah-Yazdi went beyond the permissibility issue and described the Allah-sanctioned rewards accorded the rapist-in-the-name-of-Islam:

"If the judgment for the [female] prisoner is execution, then rape before execution brings the interrogator a spiritual reward equivalent to making the mandated Haj pilgrimage [to Mecca], but if there is no execution decreed, then the reward would be equivalent to making a pilgrimage to [the Shi'ite holy city of] Karbala."

One aspect of these permitted rapes troubled certain questioners: "What if the female prisoner gets pregnant? Is the child considered illegitimate?"

Mesbah-Yazdi answered: "The child borne to any weakling [a denigrating term for women - ed.] who is against the Supreme Leader is considered illegitimate, be it a result of rape by her interrogator or through intercourse with her husband, according to the written word in the Koran. However, if the child is raised by the jailer, then the child is considered a legitimate Shi'a Muslim." 
25981  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: DBMA DVD en espanol on: September 05, 2009, 08:25:12 PM
Bixen:

Bienvenidos y gracias por tu oferta de ayuda, pero aun con tu ayuda, los costos adicionales en tiempo y dinero (p.e. por editacion/editing) prohibe un projecto asi'.



25982  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Inches on: September 05, 2009, 06:35:51 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=myyWXKeBsNk&feature=related
25983  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Humor/WTF on: September 05, 2009, 06:15:15 PM
On their wedding night, the young bride approached her new husband and asked for $20.00 for their first lovemaking encounter. In
his highly aroused state, her husband readily agreed.

This scenario was repeated each time they made love, for more than 30 years, with him thinking that it was a cute way for her to
afford new clothes and other incidentals that she needed.

Arriving home around noon one day, she was surprised to find her husband in a very drunken state. during the next few minutes, he explained that his employer was going through a process of corporate downsizing, and he had been let go. It was unlikely that, at the age of 59, he'd be able to find another position that paid anywhere near what he'd been earning, and therefore, they
were financially ruined.

Calmly, his wife handed him a bank book which showed more than thirty years of steady deposits and interest totaling nearly $1 million. Then she showed him certificates of deposits issued by the bank which were worth over $2 million, and informed him that they were one of the largest depositors in the bank.

She explained that for the more than three decades she had "charged" him for sex, These holdings had multiplied and these were the results of her savings and investments.
 
Faced with evidence of cash and investments worth over $3million, her husband was so astounded he could
barely speak, but finally he found his voice and blurted out, "If I'd had any idea that's what you were doing with the money, I would have given you all my business!"

That's when she shot him.

You know, sometimes, men just don't know when to keep their mouths shut.
25984  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender issues thread on: September 05, 2009, 11:03:05 AM
"Marc at one point told me I could discuss whatever I wanted and not participate in conversations I didn't want to. I'm taking him at his word"

Absolutely!
25985  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: DLO 3 on: September 04, 2009, 12:11:41 AM
But Night Owl is Canadian!  grin  And I like Canadians!  grin cheesy
25986  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Gilder's The Israel Test on: September 03, 2009, 08:28:27 AM
What's Israel Got to Do with It? -- By: Clifford D. May

By webmaster@nationalreview.com (Clifford D. May)

Bill Gates famously called George Gilder "very stimulating even when I disagree with him, and most of the time I agree with him." The issues on which Gilder has staked out stimulating positions over more than 30 years as a writer and public intellectual are wide-ranging. They include the causes of poverty and the creators of wealth; the consequences of modern feminism; and the possibilities opened by the high-tech revolution. His arguments are often surprising, always provocative, and generally controversial.

His latest book is titled The Israel Test. Much of what he says is dramatically different from what just about anyone else is saying. In particular: "Either the world, principally the United States, supports Israel, or Israel, one way or another, will be destroyed. There are no other realistic choices. And if Israel is destroyed, capitalist Europe will likely die as well, and America, as the epitome of productive and creative capitalism spurred by Jews, will be in jeopardy."

At this juncture, it is probably not just useful but necessary to note that George Gilder is not Jewish. In other words, the case he makes for Israel has no basis in religious or ethnic affiliation. At the same time, not being tethered to Israel or to Jews allows him to be blunt in a way few of Israel's Jewish defenders dare.

For example, he says that people "who obsessively denounce Jews have a name; they are Nazis." He does not hesitate to apply the term to Arab and Iranian leaders who exhibit such behavior. He contends, as well, that the "most dangerous form of Holocaust denial is not rejection of the voluminous evidence of long-ago Nazi crimes but incredulity toward the voluminous evidence of the new Holocaust being planned by Israel's current enemies. Two Iranian presidents have resolved to acquire nuclear weapons for the specific purpose of 'wiping Israel off the map.'"

What can be done to prevent a second Holocaust and to beat back the jihadis at America's gates? Gilder believes, first, we need to recognize the nature and gravity of the threat; second, we need more resolve; and third, we need more technology of the sort America and Israel have been most adept at producing.

It will require comprehensive missile defense and other high-tech means to prevent our sworn enemies from "infiltrating nuclear weapons into American cities, exploding them offshore near American ports, or detonating bombs above America's critical electronic infrastructure" -- destroying that infrastructure with an EMP (electromagnetic-pulse) attack, an offensive capability that Iran, for one, is known to be developing.

"No nation in history has succeeded in preserving its integrity and sovereignty without meeting the challenge of ever-advancing armaments," Gilder points out. "But many American intellectuals still imagine that the United States is different, that it is possible or desirable for us to negotiate an 'end to the arms race.' Our enemies will always want to end the arms race because they know only free nations can win it.#...#An end to the arms race would deprive the capitalist countries of their greatest asset in combating barbarism."

Gilder is convinced that the forces targeting Israel and America also are "targeting capitalism and freedom everywhere." Capitalism, he says, requires freedom -- for entrepreneurs, workers, and consumers alike. All benefit because "under capitalism the achievements of one group provide markets and opportunities for others."

He goes on to make this unfashionable observation: Any democracy not resting on a solid capitalist foundation is doomed. "Without an expanding capitalist economy," he writes, "democracy becomes dominated by its zero-sum elements -- by mobs and demagogues."

Over the centuries, such mobs and demagogues have, many times, turned against Jews. Today, Gilder adds, "they have turned against Israel." Sometimes, the root cause is simply greed and envy. But often it is the belief that "social justice" necessitates the dispossession of the "haves" and redistribution to the "have-nots" in the interest of "equality of outcome."

Over time, this can only lead to expanding poverty because it is based on a misunderstanding of what wealth is. Fundamentally, wealth inheres not in material resources but in "human minds and creations that thrive only in peace and freedom. In particular, the immiseration of the Middle East stems chiefly from the covetous and crippling idea among Arabs that Israel's wealth is not only the source of their humiliation but also the cause of their poverty."

Gilder has much more to say -- more challenging arguments and perplexing questions than I can summarize in a brief column. But his underlying thesis is straightforward: The future of freedom, democracy, capitalism, America, the West, and the tiny state of Israel are all tied together in a single knot. Israel is "not only a major source of Western technological supremacy and economic leadership -- it is also the most vulnerable source of Western power and intelligence."

Israel is, Gilder contends, "not only the canary in the coal mine -- it is also a crucial part of the mine." If Americans will not defend Israel, they will "prove unable to defend anything else. The Israel test is finally our own test of survival as a free nation."
25987  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Rove on: September 03, 2009, 08:19:29 AM
By KARL ROVE
August was the worst month of Barack Obama's presidency. And he seems to know it—he is now planning to deliver a speech to a joint session of Congress 232 days into his administration in a desperate attempt to save his biggest domestic priority, overhauling health care.

He has already had the budget-busting $787 billion stimulus package, a budget that doubles the national debt in five years, an earmark-laden appropriations bill that boosted domestic spending nearly 8%, and a cap-and-trade energy tax that limped through the House with dozens of Democratic defections (and which has stalled in the Senate). These achievements are unpopular, so they are boomeranging on him.

Mr. Obama's problems are legion. To start with, the president is focusing on health care when the economy and jobs are nearly everyone's top issue. Voters increasingly believe Mr. Obama took his eye off the ball.

In addition, Mr. Obama is trying to overhaul health care without being able to tap into widespread public unhappiness. Nearly nine out of 10 Americans say they have coverage—and large majorities of them are happy with it. Of the 46 million uninsured, 9.7 million are not U.S. citizens; 17.6 million have annual incomes of more than $50,000; and 14 million already qualify for Medicaid or other programs. That leaves less than five million people truly uncovered out of a population of 307 million. Americans don't believe this problem—serious but correctable—justifies the radical shift Mr. Obama offers.

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Associated Press
 .Moreover, he's tried to sell it with promises Americans aren't buying. He says ObamaCare will save money, but Americans believe it comes with a huge price tag because the Congressional Budget Office has said it will.

Workers are also rightly concerned they won't be able to keep their current coverage. Many businesses will drop their health plans and instead pay a fine equal to 8% of their payroll costs, which is less than what they pay for employee coverage.

Families believe they will be pushed into a government plan as the "public option" drives private insurers out of the market.

Health-care providers fear they'll be forced to follow one-size-fits-all guidelines drafted by bureaucrats, instead of making judgments for specific patients.

And seniors are afraid of Mr. Obama's plan to cut $500 billion from Medicare over the next decade, including $177 billion for Medicare Advantage. It's simply not possible to cut that much from Medicare without also cutting services seniors need.

Each of these concerns is energizing opposition among many previously uninvolved voters and political independents. Members of Congress, especially those in closely contested districts, saw this firsthand when they returned home in August.

The administration's problems have been compounded by tactical mistakes. Allowing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to push for a Democrat-only bill shatters any claim Mr. Obama can make to bipartisanship, a core theme of his candidacy. Leaving the legislation's drafting to Congress has tied the president's fortunes to Mrs. Pelosi, who has a 25% approval rating nationwide, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, whose approval rating is 37% in Nevada.

About Karl Rove
Karl Rove served as Senior Advisor to President George W. Bush from 2000–2007 and Deputy Chief of Staff from 2004–2007. At the White House he oversaw the Offices of Strategic Initiatives, Political Affairs, Public Liaison, and Intergovernmental Affairs and was Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy, coordinating the White House policy making process.

Before Karl became known as "The Architect" of President Bush's 2000 and 2004 campaigns, he was president of Karl Rove + Company, an Austin-based public affairs firm that worked for Republican candidates, nonpartisan causes, and nonprofit groups. His clients included over 75 Republican U.S. Senate, Congressional and gubernatorial candidates in 24 states, as well as the Moderate Party of Sweden.

Karl writes a weekly op-ed for The Wall Street Journal, is a Newsweek columnist and is now writing a book to be published by Simon Schuster. Email the author at Karl@Rove.com or visit him on the web at Rove.com.

Or, you can send him a Tweet@karlrove.
.Sen. Jim DeMint (R., S.C.) was inartful but basically correct when he said if Mr. Obama loses on health care, "it will be his Waterloo." It would destroy confidence in the ability of Democrats to govern. Mr. Obama knows this, which is why he will stop at nothing to get a bill, any bill, on which the label "health-care reform" can be stuck.

Given the Democratic congressional margins, Mr. Obama has the votes to do it, but at huge costs to him and his party. Legislation that looks anything like the bill moving through the House will contain deeply unpopular provisions—including massive deficit spending, tax hikes and Medicare cuts—and create enormous ill will on Capitol Hill. This will be especially true if Democrats rely on parliamentary tricks to pass a bill in the Senate with 51 votes. The public's reaction in August showed that the president is creating the conditions for a revolt against his party in the 2010 elections.

On the other hand, if Mr. Obama jettisons the public option, he may spark a revolt within his party. The Democratic base is already grumbling and could block a bill if it doesn't include a public option.

Presidents always encounter rough patches. What is unusual is how soon Mr. Obama has hit his. He has used up almost all his goodwill in less than nine months, with the hardest work still ahead. At the year's start, Democrats were cocky. At summer's end, concern is giving way to despair. A perfect political storm is amassing, and heading straight for Democrats.

Mr. Rove is the former senior adviser and deputy chief of staff to President George W. Bush.
25988  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: September 20, 2009 Gathering on: September 03, 2009, 08:03:23 AM
RyanA:

A) I suspect that the hardwood sticks have a greater propensity to break bones

B) How much have you tested what happens when striking full force?  Does the taping you describe prevent the broken-off piece from going flying when you have two adrenalized men going full force?

@All: 

Howie brings up a good idea-- that of having a congregating place the night before.  When the Gatherings were held in Hermosa Beach, this was easy for me to organize, but now that they are in Burbank that is not the case.  Does anyone have any suggestions?
25989  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / John Adams: On Children, 1756 on: September 03, 2009, 07:51:05 AM
"It should be your care, therefore, and mine, to elevate the minds of our children and exalt their courage; to accelerate and animate their industry and activity; to excite in them an habitual contempt of meanness, abhorrence of injustice and inhumanity, and an ambition to excel in every capacity, faculty, and virtue. If we suffer their minds to grovel and creep in infancy, they will grovel all their lives." --John Adams, Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law, 1756
25990  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Buchanan on: September 02, 2009, 08:07:05 PM

Hat tip to BBG, re-pasting here from the Rant thread.

http://www.reason.com/blog/show/135847.html
Buchanan: Everything You Know About Hitler's Foreign Policy is Wrong

Michael C. Moynihan | September 2, 2009, 6:19pm

Back in 1996, George Will wrote a column in Newsweek attacking Pat Buchanan's peculiar brand of conservatism; one that replaced the sunniness of Reaganism with a "snarl of resentment about people 'sitting on the corner playing bongo drums' in downtown Washington, about the economic onslaught from mighty Mexico, about the voicelessness of 'Euro-Americans' about the teaching of 'Godless evolution,' and other affronts to this 'Christian country.'" Will reminded readers of Pitchfork Pat's curious fixation on Nazi war criminals, and his revisionist view of how Jews were murdered at Treblinka:

In 1990 Buchanan, blithely misrepresenting "1,600 medical papers," ridiculed the "so-called 'Holocaust Survivor Syndrome'," which he said involves "fantasics" of martyrdom and heroics. He said that "reportedly" half the survivor testimonies on file at Yad Vashem memorial in Jerusalem are considered "unreliable." He did not say who reported that.

Regarding the use of diesel engine exhaust to asphyxiate Jews at the Treblinka concentration camp where 850,000 died, in 1990 Buchanan wrote: "Diesel engines do not emit enough carbon monoxide to kill anybody." How did he know? "In 1988, 97 kids trapped 400 feet underground in a Washington, D.C., tunnel while two locomotives spewed diesel exhaust into the car, emerged unharmed after 45 minutes." The source of that anecdote? "Somebody sent it to me." It had already appeared in a publication specializing in Holocaust denial.

Buchanan's eagerness to use such stuff that comes in, as it were, through his transom is telling. And as Jacob Weisberg wrote in The New Republic: "Carbon monoxide emitted by diesel engines is sufficient to asphyxiate people when they are crammed by the hundreds into thirteen-foot chambers. According to the 'Encyclopedia of the Holocaust,' suffocation at Treblinka took as much as half an hour: Buchanan's comparison only proves that the children he described had sufficient oxygen to survive whatever length of time they were trapped in the tunnel." Even though the tunnel was open at both ends, some children were made sick.

I covered much of the same territory responding to Buchanan's fact-free column on the John Demjanjuk case, in which he misunderstood the German penal code, compared a former concentration camp guard to Alfred Dreyfus, and generally made a hash of the facts surrounding the prosecution's case. And I took on Buchanan's view of the Holocaust—which he viewed as merely a consequence of a war started by Churchill—here.

And now Buchanan is back, with a column arguing that Hitler, the misunderstood Reichsfuehrer, didn't really want war, and could have been negotiated back from the brink. There is so much nonsense here that one barely knows where to begin, but here is a representative sample of Buchanan's argument:

The German-Polish war had come out of a quarrel over a town the size of Ocean City, Md., in summer. Danzig, 95 percent German, had been severed from Germany at Versailles in violation of Woodrow Wilson's principle of self-determination. Even British leaders thought Danzig should be returned. Why did Warsaw not negotiate with Berlin, which was hinting at an offer of compensatory territory in Slovakia? Because the Poles had a war guarantee from Britain that, should Germany attack, Britain and her empire would come to Poland's rescue.

Same was true of the Sudetenland, says Buchanan. These are, coincidentally, the very talking points one would find on the September 2, 1939 editorial page of the Völkischer Beobachter. And like much revisionism, such idiocy requires a significant refutation (which can be found in most any objective study of the war's origins). But let me just address a rhetorical question posed by Buchanan, and designed to convince readers that Hitler had no strategic designs on his neighbors:

But if Hitler was out to conquer the world — Britain, Africa, the Middle East, the United States, Canada, South America, India, Asia, Australia — why did he spend three years building that hugely expensive Siegfried Line to protect Germany from France?

This is pretty thin gruel, even by Buchanan's low standards of evidence. The Siegfried Line (or Westwall), a defensive structure built on Germany's western border, was by no means an indication of Germany's peaceful intentions. During the Sudeten crisis, which resulted in Czechoslovakia's incorporation into the Reich, "Hitler was hoping to prevent British intervention [by building the Westwall], and was certain the French would not act alone," writes historian Ian Kershaw. "A key deterrent, in his view, was the building of [the Westwall]...to provide a significant obstruction to any French invasion." There are piles of evidence to support this uncontroversial argument; simply, the German leadership constructed fortifications in the west in order to move on the east. As one book on the Westwall states flatly, the fortifications were "built not to protect against a French aggression per se but to deter France from attacking in support of her allies when Hitler sought to realize his territorial ambitions in the east."

And full credit to Adam Serwer at The American Prospect for his headline, "Pat Buchanan: Sotomayor? Racist. Hitler? Misunderstood."
25991  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness on: September 02, 2009, 03:50:57 PM
I would file that one on the Corruption thread.  Nice find.
25992  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: September 20, 2009 Gathering on: September 02, 2009, 03:46:03 PM
Thank you Pappy Dog.

Woof!

Cyborg Dog will be fighting! cool
25993  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / IBD: President Kitty at it again on: September 02, 2009, 11:37:57 AM
"The U.S. has abandoned plans to install a missile defense system in Europe, according to a report. If true, this is a major strategic error that will have serious consequences for our allies in Europe and for us. Quoting a U.S. source, the Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza says the Obama administration has decided against building a missile shield to protect Poland and the Czech Republic. The reason? Russian opposition. Now, if we want to build a defense system for friends in Europe, we'll have to place it in the Balkans, Israel or somewhere else. That is, if Russia approves. This is a stark reversal of past policy and reneges on promises made by the current administration. Worse, it shows weakness. We got into a staredown with the Russian bear and we blinked. ... We've just weakened America's standing in a critical region of the world -- Eastern Europe -- and let our allies down. We've made them vulnerable, in ways that only we could, to Russia's growing military menace. Polish and Czech friends who had relied on us to stand firm and keep our word no doubt feel betrayed. This diminishes our global influence. What smallish country will now take our word at face value when we promise to protect them? ... Given the threat to millions of American lives -- not to mention millions of our allies -- reducing missile defense is both dangerous and irresponsible." --Investor's Business Daily
25994  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Communicating with the Muslim World on: September 02, 2009, 10:48:44 AM
Obama Praises Islam as 'Great Religion'

President says Islam is "part of America," hails the religion's "commitment to justice and progress"

AP
Tuesday, September 01, 2009
Sept. 1: President Obama introduces college basketball player Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir at a dinner celebrating Ramadan in the State Dining Room at the White House. (Reuters)

WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama on Tuesday praised American Muslims for enriching the nation's culture at a dinner to celebrate the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

"The contribution of Muslims to the United States are too long to catalog because Muslims are so interwoven into the fabric of our communities and our country," Obama said at the iftar, the dinner that breaks the holiday's daily fast.

The president joined Cabinet secretaries, members of the diplomatic corps and lawmakers to pay tribute to what he called "a great religion and its commitment to justice and progress." Attendees included Congress' two Muslim members -- Reps. Keith Ellison and Andre Carson as well as ambassadors from Islamic nations and Israel's ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren.

Obama shared the story of Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir, another invited guest, who broke a state record for most career points as a Massachusetts high school student.

"As an honor student, as an athlete on her way to Memphis, Bilqis is an inspiration not simply to Muslim girls -- she's an inspiration to all of us," he said.

Obama also noted the contributions of Muhammad Ali, who was not in attendance, though the president borrowed a quote from famous boxer, explaining religion.

"A few years ago," Obama said, "he explained this view -- and this is part of why he's The Greatest -- saying, 'Rivers, ponds, lakes and streams -- they all have different names, but they all contain water. Just as religions do -- they all contain truths."'

Ramadan, a monthlong period of prayer, reflection and sunrise-to-sunset fasts, began Aug. 22 in most of the Islamic world. It is believed that God began revealing the Quran to Muhammad during Ramadan, and the faithful are supposed to spend the month in religious reflection, prayer and remembrance of the poor.

White House dinners marking the holy month are nothing new. Former President George W. Bush held iftars during his eight years in office.
Obama has made a special effort since taking office to repair U.S. relations with the world's Muslims, including visits to Turkey and Cairo. In a June speech at the Egyptian capital, as well as in one to another important Muslim audience, in Turkey, Obama said: "America is not -- and never will be -- at war with Islam."

Obama also released a video message to Muslims before the start to Ramadan. In the video, he said Ramadan's rituals are a reminder of the principles Muslims and Christians have in common,including advancing justice, progress, tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.
25995  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: DLO 3 on: September 02, 2009, 10:22:20 AM
My seminar in Toronto and a visit to my mom intervened.  Yesterday Night Owl was to give me a disc for my review, but family matters intervened and we weren't able to get together.
25996  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Emergency Tips and Emergency Medicine on: September 02, 2009, 10:20:50 AM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TjBW7oHVTgU
25997  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: The case for Afg on: September 02, 2009, 06:23:18 AM
By MICHAEL O'HANLON AND BRUCE RIEDEL
The national mood on the Afghanistan war has soured fast, and it's not hard to see why. American combat deaths have exceeded 100 for the summer, the recent Afghan election was tainted by accusations of intimidation and fraud, and Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen says the security environment there is "deteriorating."

Meanwhile, congressional leaders worry about the war's impact on the health-care debate and the Obama presidency more generally. Antiwar groups are starting to talk about "another Vietnam." Opposition is mounting to the current policy—to say nothing of possible requests for additional troops from the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal.

The questions and concerns being raised are legitimate. Clearly, the mission has not been going well. Problems with our basic strategy, especially on the economic and development side, still need immediate attention. Moreover, our Afghan friends have a crucial role to play in both security and development, and if they fail to do so the overall warfighting and state-building effort will not succeed.

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Getty Images
 
Children reach for candy from U.S. Marines on patrol near Bakwa in southwestern Afghanistan.
.However, it is important to remember our assets, and not just our liabilities, in the coming debate over Afghanistan policy this fall. Democracies sometimes talk themselves out of keeping up the faith in tough situations, and we should avoid any such tendency towards defeatism, especially so early in the execution of the Obama administration's new military/civilian/economic strategy, which combines stronger and more widespread counterinsurgency measures with increased nation-building efforts. Indeed, the U.S., our NATO allies, and the future Afghan government—be it another Hamid Karzai presidency, or a new administration—have a number of major strengths in this mission. Consider:

• The Afghan people want success. There is frankly too much talk of Afghanistan as the graveyard of empires, as land of a xenophobic and backward people who will always resist efforts to enter the modern world. Afghans fought against the British in the 19th century and the Soviets in the 20th century because these imperialist powers were pursuing their own agendas. Today, Afghans consistently show a desire for progress, and their support for the Taliban hovers just above 6%, according to an ABC News/BBC/ARD poll taken in February; support is essentially zero among the non-Pashtun majority of the population.

• Afghans are still largely pro-American. As the war slipped away from us in recent years, U.S. favorability ratings fell too, winding up at about 30% last winter, according to polls conducted by the International Republican Institute (IRI). But the new Obama strategy, combined with at least some modest excitement about the presidential elections, has changed that. IRI polls this summer show that Afghans now give the U.S. (and NATO) favorability ratings of 60%. A similar percentage express optimism about their own future, despite all the challenges of current life.

• The Afghan Army is reasonably effective. It is too small, with roughly 90,000 total soldiers. But by most accounts, the Afghan Army is fighting well, and cooperating well with NATO forces. Gen. McChrystal's new approach to training Afghan troops will greatly strengthen and deepen this cooperation. Not only will NATO finally field enough personnel to embed with each Afghan unit in mentoring teams, but its combat units will partner with Afghans at every level on every major operation—living, planning, operating, and fighting with each other in one-to-one formal partnerships.

• Even the Afghan police show some hope. This force is too intertwined with drug dealers, underequipped, and overstressed by the hazards of combat, taking up to 100 or more fatalities a month. But it is willing to fight. As a member of an IRI observing team on election day, I was impressed with their professionalism. They did a passable job securing voting sites, and while there were many insurgent attacks that day, there were very few civilian casualties. Also the reform efforts promoted by the very able Interior Minister Hanif Atmar are showing signs of progress.

• The economy is better. Afghanistan remains poor, its economy remains dominated by opium, and the twin scourge of corruption and insecurity plagues efforts to revitalize the agricultural system. Despite all that, legal GDP has been growing up to 10% a year, health care reaches much larger segments of the population than before, and seven million children are in school (in contrast to a nationwide total of less than one million during Taliban rule). What's more, the Afghan people know these things, perhaps helping explain why they are guardedly optimistic about the future despite worsening security.

• The elections were not all bad. Whether President Karzai secures the 50% vote total needed to avoid an October runoff in the presidential race or not, the tainted election process has nonetheless had many impressive attributes. The campaign this summer was serious and focused largely on the issues. Although the state-run media favored Mr. Karzai, Afghanistan's flourishing private media provided balanced coverage, and millions watched or listened to presidential debates. Poll workers were well prepared and serious about their jobs on election day. Independent election groups are now carefully scrutinizing ballots and investigating claims of fraud, and I believe they will probably do their jobs well.

To be sure, our strategy is not perfect yet. Gen. McChrystal may not yet have the resources he needs to connect what counterinsurgency theorisists call "oil spots"—pockets of government control and stability—in the crucial south and east of the country with adequate numbers of NATO and Afghan forces. Economic donors do not yet coordinate their efforts adequately, or involve Afghan businesses sufficiently in the development effort. Pakistan's commitment to its own related fight has improved but remains tenuous. And we do not yet have a sufficiently sophisticated approach to improving law and order. We must still establish a network of courts that work with local and tribal justice systems.

These problems need to be corrected soon. Even then, it will take at least 12-18 months to see results. Our chief challenge in Afghanistan is building state institutions and that is an inherently slow process. But as we debate new changes to our strategy this fall, we would do well to remember all that is working in our favor in this crucial effort.

Mr. O'Hanlon, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, is author of "The Science of War" (Princeton University Press, 2009) and author, with Hassina Sherjan, of the forthcoming Brookings book "The Case for Toughing It Out in Afghanistan." Mr. Riedel chaired President Obama's review on Afghanistan and Pakistan policy.
25998  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Baltic Dog's daughter on: September 02, 2009, 06:05:45 AM
Jura Gingko Klimanis

(pronounced Yura which means "Sea" in Latvian and the sound of flowing back and forth in Japanese)

Born on August 17, 2009
8 lbs. 12 oz. (3.9 kg)
20.75"

Pix:  http://www.pbase.com/sting333/jura_birth

Gints, Maya, little Bolveys
25999  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Jefferson in 1800 on: September 02, 2009, 05:58:14 AM
"I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." --Thomas Jefferson, letter to Benjamin Rush, 1800
26000  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Stratfor: The Kremlin's long arm on: September 02, 2009, 04:59:21 AM

The Long Arm of the Kremlin
ON TUESDAY, THE LEADERS OF SEVERAL EUROPEAN COUNTRIES will be in Gdansk, Poland, for the 70th anniversary of the day Warsaw considers to have been the beginning of World War II. This anniversary has taken an unusual turn, in that Warsaw is using the occasion to extend an olive branch to Moscow. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is in Poland for the ceremonies and will meet privately with his Polish counterpart, Donald Tusk. In June, Tusk called the anniversary an opportunity for Warsaw and Moscow to mend their relationship — a major overture by the Poles, who traditionally have had an aggressive foreign policy toward Russia. But Poland is under pressure at the moment — fearing abandonment by the United States, while Russia is resurging and commanding influence in Central Europe, and the relationship between Berlin and Moscow is growing closer.

“A year ago, it was not clear how effective Russia would be in re-establishing its influence on the Continent.”
For Russia, the anniversary is more than a chance to woo Poland; it is an opportunity for Moscow to demonstrate that it has rebuilt relationships across Europe. Putin will meet not only with Tusk, but also with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko and new Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov. These leaders are from countries that are part of Russia’s overall plan to turn the tide of pro-Western sentiment in Eastern and Central Europe – something that has been in effect since basically the fall of the Berlin Wall.

A year ago  (i.e. until BO's probable electoral victory: Marc), it was not clear how effective Russia would be in re-establishing its influence on the Continent. Although its successes are not set in stone, some are now apparent: Over the past year, Ukraine and Bulgaria have become pro-Russian, Germany has become Russia-friendly and Poland is at least considering how to tolerate a stronger Russia. Tuesday’s meetings in Gdansk are Putin’s chance to solidify Russia’s gains and show the world that Russia can roll back Western influence, even in a country like Poland.

After the fall of the Soviet Union, the West began working to push its boundaries in Europe rapidly eastward, destroying Russia’s ability to influence the region. The pro-Western lines have continued moving to the east for the past two decades, via NATO and EU expansion, until they pushed hard up against Russia’s borders. But this was before the United States became preoccupied with other parts of the world and its relationships with European countries began to fracture. The vacuum left by Washington’s inattentiveness to Europe has given Russia a chance to start pushing back against pro-Western sentiment in the former Soviet sphere.

Officials in Moscow know there is only limited time before Washington’s focus returns to Russia, and that now is the time to solidify Russian influence in the former Soviet states and then neutralize or partner with states just beyond that sphere. Once the United States decides to counter Russia, things will get messy on the European geopolitical battlefield once again.

But for now, it seems Russia is making some progress in its roll back across Europe. A question we are considering in Russia’s resurgence is how much longer the United States will allow Russia a window of opportunity. Washington has a full plate right now – with issues including Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan — but the Americans are aware of Moscow’s moves in the former Soviet region. The next thing to watch for is whether Poland can maintain a neutralized position between Russia and Germany — two countries that historically have invaded Poland in the process of invading each other.

If Poland can be neutralized and the United States’ influence in Europe remains low, what will Russia’s next move be? Which countries are next on Moscow’s list as it seeks to rebuild influence in the region? These are questions that many Baltic and Central European countries will be asking on the 70th anniversary of World War II.
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